STAFF REVIEW of Young Souls (Xbox One)

Monday, April 4, 2022.
by Adam Dileva

Young Souls Box art I’ve been a fan of beat-em-ups for many years. Classics like Double Dragon, Battles Toads, Streets of Rage, Fatal Fury and more are some of the staples in the genre, so whenever a new game releases I’m generally intrigued, more so if its artwork is beautiful. Developed by 1P2P and published by The Arcade Crew, Young Souls is the latest action role playing game that is not only gorgeous to look at, but addictive to play. Better yet, it’s on Game Pass, so if you’re a member you can go play it right now. So grab a controller, hopefully a friend to play alongside on the couch and get ready to smack down some goblins, level up and sort through dozens of weapons and armor with challenging combat.

It might be because I’m a bit older now, but the introduction to main characters Jenn and Tristan emphasize how restless and bored they are sitting at home doing nothing. As orphans, the siblings were taken in and adopted by the town’s scientist. While they’re grateful to have somewhere to stay, they don’t call him Dad and hate being stuck doing errands for him all the time as he’s always in the basement doing his work. The multilevel house has some secrets though, as there’s a locked door that you’ve been told to never go inside. Naturally the siblings are curious but he professor never lets them in or tells them what’s behind the door. Life is boring for the duo until one day when the professor disappears without a trace. The mysterious locked door is finally open, so naturally you go in to explore and see maybe he’s down there.

This is where their world gets turned upside down. They find a portal to another world called the Moon Gate, able to transport you between the human world we know and the underground Goblin’s land. As you grab a rusty sword and some flimsy armor, you’ll need to find your adopted Dad, but doing so won’t be easy with a Goblin onslaught trying to make their way to the surface and escape their underground prison.

The story branches a bit further from here with a cast of interesting characters, and while it can be a bit predictable on your search to find your Dad, it was written well and more narrative heavy than I was initially expecting. Most beat-em-ups aren’t generally lauded for their story and dialogue, but I was quite surprised with Young Souls, especially in the first hour or so where there’s quite a bit of dialogue and setup. With plenty of cutscenes you can expect a lot of back and forth between the twins deciding on the best course of action or maybe some fighting, and there’s also a surprising amount of swearing. Sure, they’re teenagers so they’re going to swear, but it just surprised me a bit with the amount. The only wish I had was that the dialogue was voiced, but sadly it’s not.

A side scrolling beat-em-up at its core, there’s plenty of RPG elements as well that makes the gameplay addictive, as you want to continue playing one more dungeon to get some potential gear upgrades. Playable solo or in couch co-op, Jenn and Tristan will explore four different dungeons, each with their own biome, so expect to play for about a dozen hours or so depending on your difficulty and how much of a completionist you are.

I played through Young Souls completely solo, so you’re able to tag in your other sibling at any point with a quick tap of ‘Left Bumper’, swapping them out on the fly. If you’ve taken damage, swapping to your other sibling will have the hurt one slowly regenerate some of the damage taken, so it becomes a necessity if you want to survive on the harder difficulty. If playing couch co-op you’re able to play alongside a friend, though sadly there’s no online component to play otherwise.

You’ll be traversing between the two worlds back and forth, thankfully this can be done easily with a tablet you have to warp to specific gates and points you’ve been to before. To get around the overworld town you do have a moped to get around quicker, though you’ll rarely use it. Town is where you’ll find the Mayor, shops to purchase some new sneakers, clothes and the Happy Fit gym where you’ll train to increase your stats after you level up.

There’s no traditional skill tree, so instead you’ll earn experience points for killing goblins as you explore the dungeons below. Once you’ve leveled up you’ll need to travel back to your attic bedroom to sleep and use your earned experience. At certain levels you’ll also get a gym ticket that allows you to play a minigame to improve your Strength, Stamina or Resistance. The two siblings can train different stats, so if you want to make one more ‘tanky’ you can or one the powerhouse damage dealer, go right ahead. These minigames are just button spamming at specific intervals as you lift weights, do sit-ups or ride a bike, and while they’re not all that fun they are finished in about 30 seconds or so. The better you do the more stars you earn which will raise your chosen stat a higher amount if you earn five stars.

You’re able to earn regular cash, used to purchase coveted and expensive sneakers that can give some pretty incredible bonuses if you’re able to save up enough. You can also hit the clothing shop to buy some new threads for your characters, though this have no stats at all and are only shown when in the human world, as walking around with armor and weapons in your regular town would draw attention of course.

The bulk of your time in Young Souls takes place underground, this is where you’ll explore four different dungeons with multiple branching paths. Large doors will give you an idea of the suggested level to attempt that section and along the way you’ll find plenty of locked chests and doors that you’ll need specific Bronze, Silver, Gold and other keys for to access. This means that you’ll be traveling back to certain dungeons to access doors after you finally have specific keys to access these areas. This of course means backtracking, but thankfully once you figure out how the warp system works it’s not all that difficult to do so as there are many checkpoints along the way. The map system can be a little confusing, but standing in front of a door will show if you’ve been down that pathway or not, laid out almost like a Metroidvania.

Beat-em-ups can be remarkably deep mechanics wise, and while some are basic with just a few button presses, Young Souls has just enough to keep you engaged without becoming a mindless button masher. You’ll not only need to attack, but dodging, blocking and parrying plays a large part of our defense as well, especially when multiple Goblins are attacking you at once. Time a block just as you get attacked and a parry will leave them open for some attacks, a necessity for larger shielded enemies.

Your attack moves will vary and change based on the weapon and type you’re using and you’ll also have a ranged ability as you find them in your dungeon delving. You’ll be able to use a ranged bow, toss a bomb, mine or use some other unique abilities. These can be upgraded with special stones you find dropped from bosses as well, so it can play a large part of your overall combat strategy. With plenty of accessibility options, Young Souls can be turned from a very challenging combat brawler into a much easier experience with auto blocking, more player damage and more options if there’s a younger player that wants to experience the game without becoming frustrated and constantly dying.

With about 20 or so bosses to find along your journey, these are the most challenging yet fun portions I had in Young Souls. While many were basic and didn’t require any unique strategies, the challenge definitely kept me on my toes and needing to use my health potions. Certain enemies and bosses also have a specific parry endurance bar, so you’ll need to sometimes counter attacks before you can lay the damage on them. Combat overall feels very rewarding and satisfying, moving from the left side of the screen to the right, room to room.

As you explore dungeons and rescue certain prisoned characters, they’ll choose to help you and huge in the over world but in the sewers. This is where you’ll be able to purchase and upgrade your weapons and armor, so you’ll need to smash barrels and jars to find hidden gems and components if you want to improve your gear. I upgraded one of the final weapons to its maximum and was able to basically one-shot most enemies near the end, which felt super satisfying when I was saving all my collectables until late game. With tons of weapon and armor variety, including set bonuses, there’s plenty of gear to find what suits your playstyle and preferences, but keep in mind there’s weight for gear as well, so the heavier you are the slower you’ll move, but the offset is that you’re generally more protected or are swinging a heavier higher damaging weapon.

For how much I enjoy getting new gear and upgrading them, it was also the most frustrating part as well. There’s no easy way to compare what you’re wearing versus what you want to buy or sell. There’s also no safeguard in place to prevent you from selling gear you’re currently wearing, a lesson I sadly learned the hard way. This aspect could have used a little more work to be a bit friendlier so I didn’t feel the need to make notes of stats and names, though not a deal breaker.

Young Souls is visually striking with its bright and colorful pallet that appears to be like an animated comic. The animation is done wonderfully and the contrast between the two worlds has a great duality that emphasizes some of the narrative tones as well. The soundtrack is catchy though the lack of any voice acting was a bit of a letdown. Given how narrative heavy Young Souls is I’m sure it would have been no simple or cheap task, but feels like a missed opportunity to make it that more special.

Young Souls has a satisfying gameplay loop that has you exploring dungeons, attaining gear and delving deeper for more bosses. That said, with no New Game+ mode after the credits rolled, there’s little reason to go back aside from working towards the 100% completion. Given that Young Souls is available on Game Pass currently, there’s no reason that you can’t check it out and see if you becomw just as addicted with ‘one more dungeon’ as I did. I now live by the stone.

**Young Souls was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 8.2 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


Site Statistics

Registered Members: 62,385
Forum Posts: 725,950
Xbox One Titles: 4,433
Xbox 360 Titles: 1,086
Xbox 360 Kinect Titles: 95
Xbox 360 Arcade Titles: 586
Original Xbox Titles: 987
Staff Reviews: 2,323
Member Reviews: 10,339
News Articles: 16,375
Screenshots: 36,611
Xbox 360 Achievements: 45,112
Xbox 360 Faceplates: 2,016
Cheat Codes: 1,706

Latest News

Hokko Life Coming to Consoles September 27th

Hokko Life Coming to Consoles September 27thHokko Life invites players to customise and cultivate their very own cosy community, with mini-games, friendly villagers, and an intricate design tool all coming together to create a charming environment for players to put their own stamp on.

See News Archives

Community Forum Activity

KeyWe Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 4724 Views

2021: XBA is still here
Post by shrew king
23 Replies, 38105 Views

Watch Dogs: Legion
Post by Nato King
0 Replies, 74297 Views

Xbox Series X or S
Post by Nato King
5 Replies, 87390 Views

Spellbreak Grand Magus Pack (3) and Starter Pack (7) Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 90240 Views

I pay $ 1000! I search the Element 54 Canadian launch Team signaturen Faceplate
Post by Smill
0 Replies, 99742 Views

Xbox one no signal
Post by debrartin
0 Replies, 97631 Views

do you remember?
Post by SnoochyBoochy
3 Replies, 102011 Views

i haz xbox
Post by SnoochyBoochy
0 Replies, 75549 Views

Claiming the first thread of 2020
Post by Kraft
7 Replies, 137795 Views

Important! I pay $ 1000! I search the Sweden launch and the Element 54 Faceplate
Post by Smill
3 Replies, 99157 Views

Squad Up
Post by samslophead
0 Replies, 179452 Views

TERA Skinned Xbox One X Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 131182 Views

Starfield Release expectations?
Post by DJ tx
4 Replies, 225273 Views

Issue with Xbox live on Xbox home
Post by rcmpayne
0 Replies, 126649 Views

© 2000-2022 - All rights reserved. All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Xbox is a registered trademark of Microsoft. is not affiliated with Microsoft.

Made in Canada
Site Design by Cameron Graphics